The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay, Considered the First Musical in the History of Music

Swarming with highwaymen, thieves, jailors, pimps and prostitutes, John Gay’s savagely satirical and wildly entertaining ‘ballad opera’ invites you into a world of greed, crime, poverty, inequality – and outrageous comedy. Where politicians and officials are just as corrupt as the lowlife below them. And where, if you want to get ahead, all you can do is join them.

Devious gangmaster Peachum is a scammer: he shops criminals to the law, while pocketing the proceeds of their crimes himself. When he discovers that his daughter Polly has secretly married notorious highwayman Macheath, Peachum conspires with his prostitute wife to have Macheath hanged – and make off with his ill-gotten money himself. But they reckoned without Lucy Lockit, daughter of Newgate Prison’s corrupt jailor – herself jilted by Macheath and out for revenge.
This brand new production from Paris’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, resident company at the 2018 International Festival, has been created by two commanding figures across international stages.

Director Robert Carsen has worked in many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses and theatres. The production’s original music direction is by William Christie, a pioneering figure in early music and founder of virtuosic Baroque ensemble Les Arts Florissants.

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